A treasure hunt in riddle form
Jeff "Pel" Stockwell published a treasure hunt book in the style of a favourite: Masquerade, with readers following a poetic tale and imagery laden with clues to find $10,000 hidden in Maine, USA. After over 10 years the prize had not been found so Stockwell decided to appease the puzzle hunter's queries:
"I have always enjoyed participating in treasure hunts that not only entertain but acquaint one with their surroundings. I found that same enjoyment when ‘treasure hunts’ began to appear in print, and yes, “Masquerade” was a huge influence. I decided to create my own hunt, combining my interest in painting with the fun of hiding clues. I decided to pick an accessible, designated location with the idea ‘hunters’ would get out and explore, and then to reach a larger audience, added the lure of treasure, a prize of some value. I asked my brother, an exceptional poet, if he would take a try at the text. Without revealing to him the solution or any clues but only copies of the illustrations and a general outline, he crafted the marvelous poem which is the backbone of the book."
"I tried to make the clues ‘discoverable” but requiring some effort and a need to think out of the box. Guessing that some readers would be looking for devices used in other hunts, I also included ‘red herrings’ as distractions. It seems there were too many distractions. Overall, there were not many ‘hunters’…or rather, there were not many books sold. But there were a few determined explores! Soon after the release, I received a number of ‘solves’. Some were elaborate and detailed (32 pages of mathematical formulas) and I will admit I was surprised at the number of clues that I did not know I had included hidden in the illustrations and text! But no one submitted a correct solution or claimed the prize. There were a number of repeat ‘hunters’ as judged by their repeat submissions."
"These submissions picked up over the last year and I was certain one of these hunters would solve the riddle (three in particular). I would have loved to have offered additional clues but as stated to all who asked for help, that would have been unfair to those who did not receive additional clues. I do not know how many were actively attempting to solve the riddle. I do know of the handful that frequently submitted solutions – I have enjoyed your correspondence and your “solutions” and with all the possibilities you have pointed out I hope to put together another hunt. Time will tell (doesn’t it always). To those who sent notes about their trips and fun with the hunt, thank-you. I am glad you had a chance to explore and enjoy the island."
Further info on the solution can be found in his writings in various fan sites.
When the Sea-King Neptune falls in love with the Goddess of the Wind, he attempts to send her a token of his affection, a golden key. He seeks the help of Fandango, the clever fox, to deliver his gift. But when Fandango reaches the Goddess he discovers the key is lost. Where the key is lost is the mystery of FANDANGO.